By Humphrey Carter THE Socialist Mayor of Palma, Aina Calvo, tried but failed to transform the capital into a thriving weekend holiday destination and now, the opposition Partido Poular's candidate for mayor, Mateo Isern, announced yesterday that he intends to have a crack should he win Sunday's election.

Yesterday he spoke of creating new historical and heritage routes through the city, promoting museums and art galleries more and encouraging a greater number of shops and restaurants to open on the weekends. “I want Palma to be open 365 days of the year by making the maximum use of the tools which we already have but have not been properly marketed,” he proclaimed.

Few people would disagree with his policy for the city. Never mind the land based tourists in Palma on the weekend, the port is usually busy with cruise ships and, as a Palma resident myself, I would not mind the capital being open on Sundays.

But, the challenge Isern is going to have is convincing the retail sector to join him. Calvo announced just a few weeks ago that she intends to declare the centre of Palma an “important tourist site” which would give the green light for all the shops in Jaime III and along the Borne, for example, to open on Sundays. But, the small shopkeepers, the ones going out of business, don't approve.

They fear it will only benefit the multinationals and department stores. If he gets the chance, I wish Isern the best of luck.